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PM Phuc and Donald Trump share phone call

Released at: 11:50, 15/12/2016

PM Phuc and Donald Trump share phone call

Photo: VGP

Two leaders talk for the first time, with both restating the importance of bilateral relations.

by Ha Nguyen-Do Huong

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc had his first phone call with US President-elect Donald Trump on December 12.

PM Phuc congratulated Mr. Trump on his election as the 45th President of the US and reiterated that Vietnam attaches great importance to the friendship and cooperation between the two countries, according to the government’s news portal.

This was the first contact between the two leaders since Mr. Trump was elected on November 9.

Mr. Trump spoke highly of the achievements Vietnam has made in the past as well as the positive developments in bilateral ties, the government’s news portal stated.

He also said he wishes to cooperate with Vietnam to accelerate the relationship. The two leaders took the occasion to discuss orientations and measures to strengthen economic, trade and investment ties in the time to come.

2016 has been a good year for Vietnam-US bilateral relations, according to analysts. “2016 was a great year for relations, highlighted by the visit by President Barack Obama in May,” Mr. Murray Hiebert, Senior Adviser and Deputy Director of Southeast Asia at the Washington-based Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS), told VET on December 14.

Vietnam and the US decided to establish a comprehensive partnership in July 2013 to provide an overarching framework for advancing the relationship.

The new partnership creates mechanisms for cooperation in areas such as political and diplomatic relations, trade and economic ties, science and technology, education and training, environment and health, war legacy issues, defense and security, the protection and promotion of human rights, and culture, sports, and tourism.

The US is now the 12th largest foreign investor in Vietnam, with total new and additional registered capital of $238 million in the first eleven months of this year, according to the Ministry of Planning and Investment. US investors invested in 815 projects with $10.1 billion in capital.

Two-way trade was reported at $40.41 billion for the first ten months of the year, with Vietnam’s exports to the US reaching $31.55 billion and imports from the US $8.86 billion, according to the General Department of Customs. The trade surplus was therefore $22.69 billion. Two-way trade in 2015 stood at $41.26 billion.

Looking to 2017, analysts believe that the US will continue with key policies in the Asian and Southeast Asian regions, though the level of attention is not yet clear. “At this point I have few suggestions for 2017 because we still know very little about incoming President Trump’s views and priorities in Asia and Southeast Asia,” said Mr. Hiebert. “I’m hoping that the Trump Administration will continue to focus on this important region.”

State President Tran Dai Quang and Prime Minister Phuc sent a congratulatory telegram to Mr. Trump on November 11, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced. “It would be great if President Trump attended the APEC Summit in Da Nang next November,” Mr. Hiebert said.

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